Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pizzabox softbox

What to do when you are in need of a new softbox but don't have proper cardboard at hand? Pizza boxes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Go-to gear

I'm quickly getting a feel of what gear I like and what I will reach to first when going out shooting.

I got a message (on short notice) from our conversation teacher who asked if I could come take some pictures of their volunteering for the Red Cross in favour of the Tsunami-victims in Japan. Didn't want to bring too much, figured no more than two lenses. I didn't even make a conscious choice about the body, went straight for the 40D, which meant the Sigma 17-50 that I use as standard on it. As second lens I chose the 85mm f/1.8. Now I have a real tele-zoom in the 55-250 EF-S, and it's not like I needed the extra light of the 85mm, so why not go with the longer zoom?

It boils down to the fact that I just really like the 85mm more, despite the limits of the fixed focal length. It's long enough that you can get some distance from the subject, so you can get more candid shots, but the form factor of it is still small. It's the same size as the 18-55 kit lens, as opposed to the long, thin 55-250 that protrudes noticably. It also has USM AF, which is a dreamily fast on the 40D. To me, it's a real performer of a lens.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fresh aspects

It's all too easy getting stuck in the digital-only hole of photography, where you take the picture then only view them on a computer. It's too easy. Just transfer the pics and you're done, everyone has a computer anyway, just upload to Facebook and they're there for everyone to see, without the hassle of printing everything out and having 100 images to go through by hand.

But with all the simplicity, the act of making a physical image, rather than a digital, is significantly overlooked.

Recently I have been doing some exploration outside of digital.

Firstly, I started using my dad's old Canon AE-1 some time ago, shooting on film for the first time in perhaps a decade. (I remember taking a picture of a comet with it some time during the 90's, most likely Hale-Bopp, which puts it at 1997.) Results have been mixed, but I've gotten a couple I like, currently up on Flickr. Among them is this, which I really like:
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That's not all though. I have thought for a while about making some larger prints, and today was the day. Five of my favourites got the honour of being reproduced on 20x30cm photo paper. And I have to say that you get a completely different view on them once printed, especially at such a size! You feel much more that you have created something when you can hold it in your hand and look at it without the glow of a computer monitor supporting it. Next is to find a good way to display them! I almost feel like taking pictures of the prints just to show their coolness...

Update: an image to show a bit what it looks like...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wacom Bamboo

So at some point I started thinking about getting graphical tablet to assist me in photoshopping. I guess it was a combination of seeing someone else use one to do image editing and my hand cramp that sets in after long sessions. In any case, the stars aligned, the time was ripe, and today I got a small Wacom Bamboo, Pen and Touch. (What this means is that the tablet also functions as a touchpad.)

It'll take some getting used to, but I've already started adjusting my workflow to it. Losing the mouse also means losing the scroll wheel, which deprives me of my "hold Alt-key and scroll to zoom in/out" method, which is a bit of a shame. So far I really like it though, I can see myself growing attached to this method of editing.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Movies

After watching Black Swan I realized something important about my movie watching. It will probably sound sort of bleak, but I have the best movie experiences when I'm watching a movie alone. It could be based on insecurity, but for me a movie is a very personal experience. When I watch a movie I want to completely immerse myself in it. Discussions, comments, everything like that can be left until after it's done. With an increased amount of people simultaneously watching the movie, the more inter-personal communication will inevitably arise, and the less I can immerse myself in the movie.

My best theatre experience was watching Hero in an almost empty movie theatre.